Influence of Cattle Activity on Tree Regeneration in Wood Pastures


Type : PhD research (2003-2006)

Fund : 


Description : 

Cattle play an important role in creating and maintaining the grassland-shrub-woodland mosaic structure in wood pastures. To explain the functioning of these highly biodiverse systems, it is important to understand how tree seedlings establish under grazed situations.

We hypothesize that the success of establishment of tree seedlings in wood pastures depends on factors such as resistance of the individual tree species, preference of herbivores, competitive ability of saplings with surrounding vegetation, facilitation by unpalatable plants and grazing intensity.

In the CATTREE project, we focus on browsing-environmental interactions influencing the early stages of tree development in grasslands.

Via field experiments we investigate seedling establishment and sapling survival of four tree species: Picea abies, Abies alba, Fagus sylvatica and Acer pseudoplatanus


Keywords : 

grazing ecology, tree establishment, competition, facilitation, wood pastures, biodiversity, field experiments, ecosystem dynamics


Participants : 


Partnerships : 


Study site : 

The Swiss Jura Mountains :

  1. La Petite ronde – Les Verrières
  2. La Frétaz – Bullet